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WELCOME BACK: Eastern's Larry Smith scored 19 points in his first game back for the Mountaineers. (The Observer/PIERRE LaBOSSIERE).
WELCOME BACK: Eastern's Larry Smith scored 19 points in his first game back for the Mountaineers. (The Observer/PIERRE LaBOSSIERE).

By Pierre LaBossire

Observer Staff Writer

The Eastern Oregon basketball men used their size and athleticism to blow out to a 44-16 halftime lead en route to a 95-46 walloping of San Jose Christian Friday night in their Quinn Classic opener.

The Mountaineers (3-2) dominated the boards with 55 rebounds to San Jose Christian's 29. Eastern held San Jose Christian to just 5-for-28 shooting in the first half.

Meanwhile, Eastern literally came at San Jose Christian in waves, with six different players scoring eight or more points.

Eastern shot over 50 percent (52.8) for the second straight game. The Mountaineers are averaging 104 points a game for their past two games.

Eastern saw the return of Larry Smith, who scored 19 points and had six rebounds. Smith had sat out Eastern's first four games until he regained his eligibility and after the game was carrying around a bouquet of "welcome back" balloons.

Trevor Exline was a perfect 3-for-3 on 3-point shots and scored 15. Brock Canady scored 14 and had nine rebounds, while Bryan Rabas had 12 points, including four on two spectacular dunks that brought a raucous crowd to its feet.

Coach Art Furman said his players fed off a big and loud pack of Eastern students attending the tournament.

"In my 11 years, I've only ever seen one other game here where the crowd got that into it, right from Jump Street," said Furman. "They were on their feet chanting ‘defense' right from the start."

Despite the dominance on the boards, Eastern didn't have a single player in double figures for rebounds. Furman thought the Mountaineers showed their depth in this game.

Konrad Bomberger is part of that depth, as he pulled down eight boards in just 19 minutes.

Normally sporting a pair of old black Converse All-Stars, Bomberger had to switch to more modern shoes for the game against the Warriors.

"They got worn out. I'm getting a new pair," said Bomberger. "One of the reasons I wear 'em is because no one else does."

Bomberger thought the Mountaineers are playing well right now because they are playing like a team.

"Everyone's getting good looks. Tonight we played great defense," he said.

Eastern will play Carroll College in the Quinn Classic championship at 8 p.m. Carroll beat Pacific Lutheran 71-69.

The Fighting Saints are 9-1 and will be looking for revenge after Eastern upset them in Helena, Mont., last year.

Pacific Lutheran will play San Jose Christian at 6 p.m.

Eastern Oregon 95, San Jose Christ. 46

San Jose Christian (46)

Herman Johnson 0-2 0-0 0, Mark Strom 7-18 2-5 20, Cole Orick 6-10 2-4 14, Adilson Muandumba 0-9 1-2 1, Jerremy Armstrong 3-9 1-6 7, Blake Allen 0-4 4-4 4, Rick Hoffman 0-4 0-0 0, A.B. Turay 0-2 0-0 0. Totals: 16-58 10-21 46.

Eastern Oregon (95)

Trevor Exline 6-12 0-0 15, Larry Smith 8-15 1-1 19, Tony Luper 4-5 0-0 8, Tyree Jones 1-1 0-0 2, Jason Crawley 1-3 0-0 2, Jacoby Fox 2-5 0-0 2, Reagan Gilbertson 1-2 0-0 3, Seth Pennington 0-1 0-0 0, Damian Browne 5-6 0-0 12, Brock Canady 5-11 3-3 14, Konrad Bomberger 1-3 1-1 3, Kevin Johnson 2-5 0-0 5. Totals: 38-72 8-9 95.

Halftime score — EOU 44, SJC 16. Three-pointers — SJC 4-18 (Johnson 0-1, Strom 4-10, Armstrong 0-1, Allen 0-2, Hoffman 0-3, Turay 0-1). EOU 11-26 (Exline 3-3, SMith 2-8, Fox 1-2, Gilbertson 0-1, Browne 1-2, Rabas 2-3, Canady 1-4, Johnson 1-3.) Fouled out — None. Total fouls — SJC 8, EOU 19. Technical fouls — None. Turnovers —SJC 12, EOU 12. Rebounds —SJC 29 (Orick 9), EOU 55 (Canady 9). Assists — SJC 10 ( Allen 3, Strom 3), EOU 27 (Jones 4).

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